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| Statue of Spinoza unveiled in Amsterdam centre |
published: Tuesday, November 25 2008, 1:26PM
Yesterday, a statue was unveiled by Mayor Job Cohen, in honour of the famous 17th century Amsterdam philosopher Baruch (or Benedictus as he chose to call himself later) Spinoza.
Spinoza (1632 - 1677) was a Dutch philospher from a Jewish family. He became known for his ideas about freedom of expression, tolerance and freedom of religion. He is often seen as a rationalist and important for the Enlightenment. Because of his ideas he was excommunicated from his synagogue, the Portuguese Synagogue on the close-by Mr Visserplein.
The statue is an initiative of the foundation Spinoza Monument. The interest in Spinoza has grown lately, and the foundation thought Spinoza deserves a prominent place in Amsterdam. It is said that, because the city of Rotterdam has successfully embraced the 17th century philospher Erasmus as its symbol, Amsterdam couldn't stay behind.
The statue is located in front of the Amsterdam City Hall (at Zwanenburgwal).
The statue includes image of Spinoza himself, and next to him an icosahedron, an geometric form with 20 faces. This symbolizes the universe as a model, created by the human mind. The birds on the statue are rose-ringed parakeets, an exotic bird which has settled in Amsterdam in the past few decades. The bright green birds first settled in the Vondelpark, but can nowadays be seen throughout Amsterdam. They symbolize the immigrant city Amsterdam was in the 17th century and still is today.
The roses on his mantle refer to his name: Spinoza means 'thorn' in Portuguese.
The text on the statue is a quote by Spinoza, and reads 'Het doel van de staat is de vrijheid' ('The purpose of the State is freedom').
His most famous works are the Ethica (published after his death) and the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus.
Contrary to what is often thought, the new Spinoza statue is not the first Spinoza statue in Amsterdam. In front of the Spinoza Lyceum, a high school in Amsterdam South, there has been a statue of the philosopher for decades.
More information about Spinoza.
Details of Spinoza statue: parakeet and roses on his mantle
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